Using Public Domain Texts, Images, Audio and Film

As our name suggests our project is focused on showcasing works which are in the public domain and so are free to re-use for any purpose, even commercially. Important to understand, however, is that, although the majority of the content featured is in the public domain or under an open license worldwide, because of variations in local law, this is not always the case, particularly relating to film and audio content. Further to the underlying copyright status of works there are often additional rights claimed on digital copies of these works which can restrict re-use. For the items in our Collections section we state what we believe the rights to be, but this is very much to be taken as an approximation and we therefore highly encourage to do your own investigations before re-using any material, particularly for commercial purposes.

For more detailed information on the different kinds of rights statements you’ll find on our site, and for a more detailed explanation about the public domain and licensing, please see our “Rights Labelling on Our Site” page. For more information and further reading on finding out about local variations in copyright law we recommend the legal section of our “Guide to Finding Interesting Public Domain Works Online”.

If re-using public domain material from our site then you are under no obligation to mention us, but it would be really great if you did! Every credit and link back helps us grow an audience and continue the project.

Redistributing Our Articles

All unquoted text in our Collections posts and our Essays (unless labeled at the bottom with other licenses) is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license. Such a license means you can use this material for any purpose as long as you:

  1. attribute the original author
  2. attribute The Public Domain Review as the original source
  3. publish the piece under the very same license – if a whole article then also including the following before the main body of the text begins:

    “This article / [Article Title] was originally published in The Public Domain Review [hyperlink to article on The Public Domain Review] under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0. If you wish to reuse it please see:”
  4. do not use the attribution requirement to suggest that the original author or licensor (us!) endorses or supports a particular use of a work.
  5. do not put the piece, in original or translated form, behind a paywall.

It would also be great if you could let us know if you are re-using some of our material. It’s always good to know how our work is being shared!